Brett Lee’s lesson for injury-hit Cummins
Retiring paceman Brett Lee has told emerging Australian quick Pat Cummins to get used to being called injury-prone.
Ending his 13-year international career on Friday, Lee reflected on the painful lessons it offers for Cummins, the gifted and injury-hit teenager he believes can become a Test great.
While he had agreed with selectors to continue through until September’s Twenty20 World Cup, 35-year-old Lee woke on Friday and knew the time had come because he just “didn’t have that desire any more” to provide the 100 per cent commitment needed.
Injury forced both Lee (calf) and Cummins (abdominal strain) home early from Australia’s one-day series whitewash loss to England in the past month.
Since then the veteran has spoken privately to the youngster about what lies ahead if he is to live up to his enormous potential.
Lee was speaking from vast experience.
He was hampered by numerous injury setbacks since debuting in 1999, but still retires with the fourth-best record of any Australian bowler in Tests and the equal best for Australia with Glenn McGrath for one-day internationals.
Lee burst onto the scene as one of the quickest bowlers in history, taking 42 wickets in his opening seven Tests.
Cummins’ body has only allowed him to wear the baggy-green once so far – an impressive Test debut in South Africa.
But Lee said his fellow New South Welshman was superbly equipped to succeed.
“The thing I told him the other day is that you’re going to get injured unfortunately,” said Lee.
“If you put yourself and your body on the line every single time you bowl a ball the chances are you will get injured so you have to learn how to deal with that.
“Learn how to deal with the media saying you’re injury prone, learn how to deal with people saying you need to bowl 150km every single ball.
“It’s tough, it’s challenging but I know he can do it. With his make-up and what he knows at the age of 19 it’s unbelievable.
“If I had half his talent that he’s got at 19, you’d take a million Test wickets. He’s just a wonderful guy, he’s a guy that listens, he’s got a great body to bowl fast.”
Lee, who will continue playing T20 in the IPL and Big Bash, said he’s prided himself on fighting back against the odds and wants to be remembered as such.
Lee leaves an Australian team at a cross-roads just 12 months out from the Ashes, and said Michael Clarke and his side needed to be afforded patience.
“We’re guided by a terrific guy in Michael Clarke. We’ve just got to back the guys we’ve got around us and realise we don’t make superstars overnight,” he said.
“We can’t expect guys to go out there and get five-for’s or 100s in their first match.
“The guys need to take time to get used to their spot and there’s a lot of unfair pressure coming from all angles.
“Pick a group and try and stick with them.
“It’s my time to walk away and let these young guys build their careers up and step into the spotlight.”© AAP 2013
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